Fancy and impractical exhaust pipeSo, it was London Design Festival 2011 last week. Seven days of innovative design, outstanding manufacturing techniques, beautiful architecture and pretentious bollocks. Take, for example, the above. It’s an exhaust pipe, that much I know, but what exactly is it that we’re supposed to admire about this particular piece? Is it the welding? Is it the fact that the fat end looks a bit like a shark? Or does it not require any deep thought, and is just there to open our minds as to what humanity can achieve with the humble exhaust? Who cares. Next.

Now this I like. Featured as part of an exhibition of Slovenian designers, the Sitty by Gigodesign is a fold down wooden seat that can be placed in parks, on pavements or public squares and takes up minimal space. This nifty piece of urban furniture sticks two fingers up to the now oh-so-boring park bench as its stands shiny and proud…until it’s pissed on by a dog or pulled out of the ground by a violent yob fuelled by cider and Nobby’s Nuts. Too good for the UK.

Again from Slovenia, Franc Kuzma produces these über-cool turntables that excel in their minimalist design as well as its acoustic impact (oh yes). Read the first line of the description above if you don’t believe me.

Soon after absorbing the brilliance of the best designers Slovenia has to offer, I came across this ‘inflatable lecture theatre’. Amazingly, the theatre works on a closed system, whereby the white rubber walls and ceiling are inflated by the hot air being expelled by each of the wanky speakers. As soon as somebody stops talking it immediately starts to deflate and everybody has to either leave or start saying more poncey things before everyone is crushed to death.

Alarmingly, the chair section of the Superbrands London exhibit appeared to have been infiltrated by an underground neo-Nazi sect posing as weedy little furniture designers in tweed jackets, thick-rimmed glasses and colourful trainers. Fortunately, I found this stack of chairs tucked away in a dark corner that blew their cover.

Chairs, in the colours of the German flag ‘randomly’ stacked together. They were clever enough to get the red and the black the wrong way round, but that wasn’t enough to throw yours truly off the scent. I can smell a Nazi a mile off. And if you’re thinking that I’m wrong to link anything remotely German to the Nazis, consider if you will the location of the white chair – at the top of the pile, lording it up over all other colours. Coincidence? I think not.

Still on chairs, the Ear Chair by Studio Makkink & Bey is specifically designed for ugly people so they can sit in comfort whilst the rest of us go about our businesses not looking at them. Dutch designer, Roeland van Nistelrooy, said that he designed the chair with Joseph Merrick in mind. The over-extended side head-rests provide excellent cover for the less attractive sitter, and even has an arm rest for those proper ugly people with over-sized limbs.

The escape key, or ‘Esc’ key (top left on the keyboard if you’re a computer mong) posing as a stool for sitting. Quite cool and quirky furniture design from somebody who I forgot to write down the name of **face meet palm repeatedly**. Other stools included the nozzle on a can of spray and what I was told was a ‘vibrating massage chair‘ for naughty people.

Inspired by 90s cult classic Terminator 2 this chair represents the aftermath of a T100 prolapse.

These cool iPod speaker boxes are from a pair of Chilean designers who appeared to have cornered to cardboard-lunch-box-style-iPod-speaker-market. GrupoVibra are, to be fair, a very talented design agency creating some sweet audio products striving to live “in harmony with environment and with great sound quality in order to join again the universal act of listening music with art and feeling of the original sound piece.”

Here’s a look inside one. More than enough room for a couple of ham sandwiches, a Baby Bell, a packet of Salt-n-Shake and a Wagon Wheel.

This is an exact replica of Stalin’s personal Space Hopper, part of the short-lived communist toy range rolled out during the 1940s and 50s as a means of distracting Soviet children as their parents were massacred for slagging of the Regime.

I was stood admiring this large mural of a man’s face chiselled and chipped into a wall just off Brick Lane, when I noticed the pair of CCTV cameras disguised as a cute little cartoon face. Proof, if we even needed it, that Tower Hamlets Council is pure evil.

My favourite exhibition of the London Design Festival 2011. I was wandering around pretending not to be lost, admiring this haunting approach to representing the hollow nature of human existence in the 21st century, deliberating some of life’s many existential questions when I was informed that this in fact wasn’t part of the festival and was simply an empty room.

OC

@botanicbrew

You know the sort of people who think they demand a degree of respect far beyond that of which they actually deserve, the sort of people who preach about deadlines, professionalism, factual accuracy, spelling and grammar, punctuality and ambition when you see so little of all these things in them, the sort of people who love the fact that they have “come from nothing” and think the colour of their skin justifies the size of the chip on their shoulder, the sort of people who are so wrapped up in giving power to the “downtrodden gender” yet have all the characteristics that make that gender so fucking downtrodden in the first place, the sort of people who read books by people like Seth Godin and think there’s “no such word as ‘no’” conveniently ignoring the fact they just used it twice in one sentence, the sort of people who use the term “use your initiative” as an excuse for their own lack of man-management skills, the sort of people who use excuses like “oh god I just don’t have the brain space for this today” but then tell you that lack of internet access is definitely not an excuse, the sort of people who have the ability to make an entire room of happy people feel awkward and uncomfortable just because they are having another bad day?

Yeah, I don’t fucking like those sort of people.

OC

@BotanicBrew

I thought it best to explain the reason behind the title of this blog sooner rather than later.Thus… I had just arrived back in the office (in a particularly dickheady (should be a legit adjective) part of London) after seeing some really crap graffiti and just felt generally angry at the levels of pretence and ‘aren’t I so different and clever’-ness that seems endemic to here.

So I thought I would take to the fridge in search of something cold and wet to calm me down. The only thing in there was a 275ml bottle of Fentimans Botanically Brewed Mandarin And Seville Orange Jigger (my bosses are a bit into the Shoreditch vibe). This was the final straw.

Fentimans Botanically BrewedNow, we’re talking about a company established in 1905 by an iron worker from West Yorkshire, here. Fenters would be shitting in his grave if he knew his brand for botanically brewed ginger beer had been hijacked by a pretentious bunch of dorks selling it in ‘pop-up shops’ that sell nothing but drinks, scarves and badges for £3.50 a bottle and added the word ‘Jigger’ to an otherwise perfectly reasonable drink flavour.

Of course, I still drank it and it was pretty bloody nice but I won’t be buying it again – ever. This typified the sort of thing that annoys me most lately, and I know it’s easy to bitch and moan but let’s be honest no one really gives a shit about the things that make people happy.

Hijacked by pretenceDamn you tasty pretentious drink!

OC

@BotanicBrew

Despite now working in Shoreditch/Brick Lane for over three months it was only yesterday that I spotted the below outside one of the many, many fucking retro shops in this place.

crap graffitiSTUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID CRAP GRAFFITI!

Spray paint, stencil and duct tape all check — but what’s this? The stupid hipster (probably was a stupid hipster) has left the final box unchecked! This must mean he’s leaving it up to society to decide if it’s a ‘Good idea to paint on wall’! What a wanker. Look, you’re not Banksy, you’re not Invader you’re not even Mr. fucking Brainwash! (Yes I did watch Exit Through The Gift Shop recently).

What makes this piece of crap graffiti even, well, more crap is that it is spray painted over some of the worst tagging I have ever seen! I mean, I’m no expert but ‘Gurty’? Really?


OC

@BotanicBrew

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.